This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

John Stuart Mill And Utilitarianism Essay

1586 words - 7 pages

A major problem in society John Stuart Mill highlights is that there is not a set standard for judging what makes something right or wrong. Clearing these principles is one of the fundamental steps for consensus on moral thinking. Mill believes that what makes something right or wrong is based on whether it is thought of as “good”. However, this only further raises the question on what is considered good. Mill purposes the goodness as a principle of utility, otherwise known as greatest happiness principle. Whatever brings about the most happiness is what is the most good. While others argue that natural instincts disprove the principle of utility as well as any other standard on morals, Mill ...view middle of the document...

In addition, he believes those best capable of deciphering between a higher pleasure and lower pleasures are a people with lots of experience. This differentiation on levels of pleasure is opposed with the argument that the experiences being compared are fundamentally very different and therefore invalid to make. For example, the pleasure from eating chocolate is dramatically different than the pleasure gained from reading a profound book. Although each could be very pleasurable in its own category, relating the two is like comparing apples and oranges. This is not only illogical but it can also cheapen certain pleasures.
In addition, Mill confronts the objection that most virtuous people in history have abandoned and sacrificed their happiness. Mill does not deny virtuous people sacrificing their happiness, however, he states that the end goal is to bring happiness to others. Therefore virtuous actions of individuals holds Mill’s principal of utility in which happiness of society takes precedent. In addition, Mill further argues that being a virtuous person is one of the highest forms of happiness because then one has serenity. In the end, Mill believes the only requirement morality truly depends on is happiness. The only thing that people desire throughout all their actions is to be happy. Mill believes that things such as virtue are only a form of happiness. In fact he describes happiness as the larger main goal with different compartments underlying.
Furthermore, Mill claims that justice is also based off of the principal of utility. Often people seek justice when they have seen a wrong done either on another individual or society, showing that people are worried about the general interest of a society. In addition, typically when injustice occurs there are victims or groups of victims that suffers from the injustice. This happens when their rights have been infringed upon. Mill sees rights not as a separate entity from utility. Rights represent the establishment on which further happiness can be fulfilled because they are required for society to thrive and prosper. Therefore, protecting individual rights such as the case when trying to seek justice is the responsibility of the entire society. Mill claims that because rights are so fundamental for happiness, it is rare to find a situation where violating rights is required for the total happiness. However, if need be rights can be violated because total happiness of society is the final and only criteria for deciding whether something is right or wrong.
Mill’s focus on the happiness of society takes away from the individual. The character or morality of a person is not taken into consideration when looking at a task. Mill takes a very impersonal approach when judging morality. Actions are observed separate from those who perform them. In addition, the person’s purpose of doing the action is not concentrated on. The only factor that goes into the whether something is right or wrong depends...

Find Another Essay On John Stuart Mill and Utilitarianism

John Stuart Mill and The Influence of Utilitarianism on Hard Times

1876 words - 8 pages principle and approves his method of madness, shall we say (Ward et all). The rise of Utilitarianism shaped many social reforms, behaviors, and ideas during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. English economists such as Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill are the two names associated with this movement the most. Their view of utilitarianism revolves around the central phenomenon that if an action is right, it will produce pleasure and happiness

John Stuart Mill - Life and Economics

571 words - 2 pages most elastic in its demand for goods. By this, John Stuart Mill was talking about the ratio of percent change in one country to another – the percent change being the increase or decrease in value of a good (in a percentage). The last two parts of this book were; the influence of the progress on society on production and distribution2 – that is, the way the development of a country affects its production and distribution – and, the

Ethics: Ayn Rand and John Stuart Mill

1367 words - 6 pages Ethics is defined as the study of moral standards and how they affect conduct in a society or individual. With such a definition it is not wonder that the idea of what is ethically right or wrong can be interpreted differently depending on whose moral compass you use. Though there are many scholars to choose from I chose two very specific doctrines to evaluate for the purpose of this class. Ayn Rand and John Stuart Mill are two scholarly writers

Comparing Karl Marx and John Stuart Mill

4526 words - 18 pages individual property can no longer be transformed into bourgeois property, into capital, from that moment, you say individuality vanishes. You must, therefore, confess that by "individual" you mean no other person than the bourgeois, than the middle-class owner of property. This person must, indeed, be swept out of the way, and made impossible. Works Cited Marx, K. and Engels, F. Manifesto of the Communist Party, in The Portable Karl Marx, edited by E. Kamenka, New York: Penguin Books 1983. Mill, John Stuart. On Liberty. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1978. Mill, John Stuart. Utilitarianism. Indianapolis: Hackett, 2001

John Stuart Mill

1827 words - 7 pages Who is John Stuart Mill? John Stuart Mill was born on May 20, 1806, in London, England. He was mostly known for his radical views. For example, he preached sexual equality, divorce, universal suffrage, free speech, and proportional representation. He had many works of writings such as Principles of Political Economy, On Liberty, The Subjections of Women, and the Three Essays of Religion: Nature, the Utility of Religion, and Theism.  &nbsp

John Stuart Mill: Representation's importance and pitfalls

1238 words - 5 pages For John S. Mill, representation is the best form of government. "The ideally best form of government is that in which the sovereignty, or supreme controlling power in the last resort, is vested in the entire aggregate of the community; every citizen not only having a voice in the exercise of that ultimate sovereignty, but being, at least occasionally, called on to take an actual part in the government, by the personal discharge of some public

Comparing John Locke, John Stuart Mill, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau

2042 words - 8 pages Comparing John Locke, John Stuart Mill, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau John Locke, John Stuart Mill, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau all dealt with the issue of political freedom within a society. John Locke's “The Second Treatise of Government”, Mill's “On Liberty”, and Rousseau’s “Discourse On The Origins of Inequality” are influential and compelling literary works which while outlining the conceptual framework of each thinker’s ideal state present

John Stuart Mill Biographical Information

1400 words - 6 pages John Stuart Mill was a very intelligent man, who not only was a great economist of his time, but he was also a philosopher, scholar, author and a political scientist. He was the “most influential English-speaking philosopher of the 19th century.” (John Mill, 1) John made a huge impact on the world. He contributed many ideas and beliefs to society. John Mill was a man of many talents, and he had the courage to hold beliefs that most people did

John Stuart Mill on Liberty

2027 words - 8 pages to others", and some feel they are no actions that only affect the person, not others. Indeed many feel that Mill's theory raises as many questions as it answers. It is true that "harm to others" can be interrupted differently, however Mill knew of what he was talking and I believe he clearly defines this in the essay and that I have also explained it in this essay. Overall I believe that John Stuart Mill makes a very clear, coherent and

On Liberty - John Stuart Mill

1126 words - 5 pages John Stuart Mill was a great philosopher of the nineteenth century and the author of 'On Liberty.' In this writing (written in 1850), Mills voiced his ideas on individual freedom, both social and political. His intended audience is educated, healthy and 'civilized' adults. He equates our personal freedoms with the pursuit of happiness, in particular, freedom of speech and expression. Mill defines the meaning of liberty as the relationship

The utilitarian philosophies of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill

2070 words - 8 pages Compare and contrast the utilitarian philosophies of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. Which do you think is the more convincing moral theory, and why?In terms of Utilitarianism, this assignment shall outline the philosophies of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. It shall firstly illustrate the ideas of Bentham and then follow on to compare and contrast those of Mill. To continue, the assignment will view the failing qualities in both the

Similar Essays

Utilitarianism, By John Stuart Mill Essay

1368 words - 5 pages . Bibliography Crisp, Roger: J.S. Mill Utilitarianism, Oxford University Press, New York 1999. Crisp, Roger: Routledge philosophy guidebook to Mill on utilitarianism / Roger Crisp. London : Routledge, 1997. Mill, John Stuart: Utilitarianism in Coursepack for PY1101 Web Sources http://www.studyworld.com/newsite/ReportEssay/Science/Social%5CMills_Utilitarianism-112.htm http://www.wowessays.com/dbase/ae2/meb280.shtml http://www.mnstate.edu/gracyk

Utilitarianism, By John Stuart Mill Essay

2492 words - 10 pages In John Stuart Mill’s work Utilitarianism, Mill is trying to provide proof for his moral theory utilitarianism and disprove all the objections against it. Mill defines utilitarianism as a theory based on the principle that "actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness" (Ch. II, page 7). He calls this the “greatest happiness principle. Mill says, “No reason can be given

Utilitarianism And Morality In John Stuart Mill´S Essay

1190 words - 5 pages utility, which is also referred to as the “greatest happiness principle.” Mill makes it clear that utilitarianism has had great impact in shaping a moral basis of principles. From top to bottom, John Stuart Mill put forth an incredible essay depicting the various unknown complexities of morality. He has a remarkable understanding and appreciation of utilitarianism and throughout the essay the audience can grasp a clearer understanding of

Utilitarianism Is Usually Connected With The Specific Doctrines Of Jeremy Bentham And John Stuart Mill

1665 words - 7 pages Utilitarianism is usually connected with the specific doctrines of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, who both took the goodness of consequences to be measured by their effect on the happiness of human beings. Bentham was both the founder of utilitarianism and a contemporary of Mill's father, who ensured that his son received a strict utilitarian education based upon Bentham's theories . It is not surprising, then, that aspects of Mill's views